A High Court judge has rejected a mother’s allegations that her ex-husband sexually abused their children.
In Re T (Children), the British mother met and married the Algerian father after he moved to England in 2002.
The parents had two children of their own and cared for the father’s niece, who is a quadriplegic with a range of other disabilities.
Sitting at the Manchester Civil and Family Justice Centre, Mr Justice Holman said one “sadness of this case” is that the stresses that resulted from caring for the niece in addition to their own children could have contributed to their marriage breaking down.
In late 2012, the father left the family home to visit family in Algeria, but did not return to it when he came back to England three weeks later. This, the judge said, effectively started their separation.
Initially, the father visited the children regularly and took them on outings until February 2013 when the mother “abruptly terminated all contact” between him and his children.
It was at this point she accused him of sexually abusing, or at the very least, exposing the children to “inappropriate sexual behaviour and/or language”.
The mother originally submitted 19 various allegations against the father, some sexual and others not, but withdrew eight of them having been “very well and wisely advised by her counsel”.
Having decided that the non-sexual allegations were not relevant to this finding of fact, Mr Justice Holman examined each sexual allegation in turn using the civil standard for proof, which is a “simple balance of probability”.
He found that none of the allegations had enough merit to be ruled as meeting the standard of proof, saying that many of them had been “exaggerated and embellished”.
The judge concluded that the father had not abused his children, nor behaved inappropriately around them.
He added that preventing the children from seeing their father was “damaging” and he hoped the damage could be repaired.
This should be of interest to many parents who find themselves the subject of untrue allegations. The court will deal with them objectively and if they are proved untrue they can severely rebound on the parent who made them and their fitness to parent the children.
Photo of Manchester Civil Justice Centre by Duncan Hull via Flickr